TV3's illegal gun-buying stunt didn't expose a loophole and might have actually created a problem, says a barrister specialising in firearms law.
Nicholas Taylor said he has 18 years experience in firearms cases and reviewed almost 10,000 of those cases to find not a single one involved the mail order exploit currently the focus of the police investigation.
"What I discovered is I haven't had a single case in 18 years of being a barrister specialising in firearms law in which a firearm has been found by police or in someone's unlawful possession that has been obtained this way. There isn't a case I can name or have come across."
The Herald has asked TV3 owners Mediaworks if it can identify any cases in which the mail order exploit led to a gun being bought illegitimately.
MediaWorks has not said whether it was aware of any other cases of the expolit being used to buy guns - with a spokeswoman saying the question wasn't "relevant".
"The clear potential for criminals to obtain a firearm was there and this loophole was closed as a result of the story."
The company is under increasing pressure after a search of the home of one of its stars this week revealed the extent of a police investigation into an illegal gun buying sting.
An expose on its Story current affairs show saw Heather du Plessis-Allan detail how a .22 rifle had been bought illegally from Gun City through mail order by putting bogus details - including the name and identity number of a police officer - onto a form.
Police documents and statements have revealed detectives are investigating serious charges, including forgery which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Mr Taylor said the mail order system - set out in a section of the Arms Act - spelled out a series of steps which had always given a perception that anyone breaching it would be caught, and most likely would be.
Mr Taylor, who has acted for most New Zealand gun dealers including previously representing Gun City, said: "It seems to be a problem that never was a problem until now. It seems they have presented a way to everyone in the community to get a gun unlawfully.
"I don't think there is any public service being done here. It's almost coaching people to do something if they're prepared to break the law. This way of obtaining a firearm is not a loophole and is not, and has never been, a real problem. The reason is that the risk of being caught is, or has been, too high."
Mr Taylor's findings are supported by a police review, with a headquarter's spokesman for Police Headquarters saying it was unaware "of any other instances of firearms being purchased illegally in this way".
He said a spot audit of 300 online firearms purchases this year - carried out before the TV3 story - found no instances of the mail order system being exploited. There was a fresh audit currently being carried out, he said.
The spokesman also made it clear the investigation was not on offences under the Arms Act, which governs firearms, but the more serious Crimes Act, which aligns with the forgery and "obtaining by deception" offences listed on the search warrant used on the Wellington home of du Plessis-Allan and husband Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB political editor.
The stakes ramped up after Auckland City district commander Superintendent Richard Chambers spoke out over the search warrant executed by his officers, saying the person who filled out the form to buy the gun could go to jail.
Superintendent Chambers spoke after a barrage of criticism over the search warrant, saying police wanted it made clear "the illegal purchase of a firearm by deception is a serious offence which is punishable by imprisonment".
"Police have a responsibility to apply the law equally and conduct a full and thorough investigation into such allegations, regardless of the circumstances or the individuals involved."
He said police had asked to speak with Mediaworks staff as part of the investigation.
"However, these requests were declined, so Police took the steps necessary to obtain the information required to progress the investigation, including the execution of search warrants."
The Herald has reported that detectives reviewing years worth of mail orders sent to Gun City found no other bogus sales.
It also emerged Police Association president Greg O'Connor, who tipped Story to the exploit, was unable to point to any specific cases.